Archbishop Nienstedt Resigns 16 Jun 15

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Archbishop John Nienstedt of the Archdioceses of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced his resignation Monday, 10 days after Ramsey County filed criminal charges against the archdiocese for failing to protect children from an abusive priest.

Nienstedt’s leadership of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis unraveled over a painful two years.

A church archivist accused him of leaving abusive clergy in parishes and church jobs without warning parents or police. A task force he appointed confirmed the archdiocese had been negligent. Around the same time, he faced allegations of his own inappropriate sexual conduct, but he didn’t reveal specifics.

Through it all, Nienstedt rejected calls for his resignation. Then, less than two weeks ago, a prosecutor brought child-endangerment charges against the archdiocese, and on Monday, he stepped down.

“I leave with a clear conscience knowing that my team and I have put in place solid protocols to ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults,” Nienstedt wrote in the announcement.

But the Rev. Michael Tegeder, a Minneapolis priest and frequent Nienstedt critic, said the archbishop “came into this diocese without really any empathy” and “undermined so many of the good things that were going on here.”

“He had to go,” Tegeder said.

Nienstedt’s resignation was announced by the Vatican, which also said it had indicted Jozef Wesolowski, its former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, on charges of sexually abusing minors in the Caribbean country and possessing child pornography. He will be the highest-ranking Vatican official ever to stand trial for a sex crime.